Oman’s most promising bodybuilding champion, Bilarab Moosa al Salaami, the first contestant from the sultanate to participate in international bodybuilding championships in the heavyweight category (above 100kg), has now set his eyes on two targets – the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) Asian Championship to be held in Beijing, China, between July 26 and 29 and the IFBB World Men’s Championship to be held in the UAE between November 5 and 10.
Bilarab, who recently won the first prize in this year’s Oman Bodybuilding Championship as well as first place in the West Asian Bodybuilding Championship held in Bahrain in April, currently works as a software engineer in the IT department of National Bank of Oman which is backing his candidature for the upcoming international meets. And he is confident of figuring in the top three in both competitions wherein he does expect stiff competition from bodybuilders from Iran and the UAE.
A member of Champions gym in Muscat, Bilarab is an ex-armyman, having worked for the Sultan’s Armed Forces for around 6 years, and believes in a disciplined lifestyle. He reserves is gyming schedules outside his duty hours in the morning and evening, but admits that the real pressure always begins two months before each competition when he has to put in additional effort to get ready.
“I was quite impressed by bodybuilding when in my early teens our school took us to visit a bodybuilding gym. I immediately took a fancy for it and wanted to shape up myself like the bodybuilders I had seen there,” says Bilarab, admitting that none in his family or friend circle had been in bodybuilding when he decided to start hitting the gym. Initially, he used to tag along with his father who was a member of an ordinary gym but later joined better equipped gymnasiums and began shaping up for contests in the first year itself.
“When I started out, I was just 46kg but for my first competition – an ordinary local contest – I increased my weight to 64kg and managed to bag the third prize,” he said adding that there was no looking back from thereon. Slowly and steadily, he began shaping up under the guidance of local trainers and coaches and over the years acquired many titles that kept him rooted in bodybuilding, not just as a sport but as a way of life itself.
Currently, he is training under his coach Mohammed al Siyabi, and the real preparation for the China meet would begin immediately after Eid, less than two months before the championship. He also receives able support from his wife who encourages him and plays an important part in preparing him 8-9 meals a day.
“I do not consume any protein shakes of vitamin tablets, I prefer to have natural nutrition since these are free from side effects,” said Bilarab explaining that he begins his day with an hour of gyming at 5am following which he has a heavy breakfast and sets off to work. A series of smaller meals of rice, fish, chicken, beef and vegetables follows before his evening three-hour session in the gym, he said adding that he also makes sure to get eight hours of good sleep everyday.
About the lack of sponsorship available to bodybuilders, Bilarab said there is need for private companies to support young bodybuilders as it is a costly sport wherein one spends a lot on nutrition and training. “We need more companies to support young bodybuilders to encourage them and prepare them for championships,” he said, adding that it is his ultimate dream to set up a training academy for young bodybuilders to help them participate in prestigious championships.
6am: Breakfast – 10 egg whites, honey, brown bread and milk
9am: Chicken with white rice (100gm each)
12 noon: Brown rice with fish (100gm each)
2pm: Beef with white rice (100gm each)
4pm: snacks (fruits)
After 3hrs in gym: Two more meals of vegetables and fish
Daily: 4-5 litres of water
I love: Discipine
I avoid: Junk food
I work out: Twice everyday
I consume: 8-9 meals everyday
My favourite food: Pizza (when on a break)
To me, bodybuilding is: My everything
My best moment: Every time I prepare for a competition
My worst moment: In 2010, in Spain, when I was put in the wrong age group, among pros, because I was taller than the under-20s.
My unique selling point: I’m the first participant from Oman in the heavyweight category of international bodybuilding competitions.
My dream: To build my own big house with a fully equipped gym where I can train young boys for bodybuilding championships.